St. Louis, Missouri
June 18, 2000
June 18, 2000
June 21, 2000
5.274.1 - 5.274.6
Enhancement of a Core Electrical Engineering Course Using WebCT
David Harding United States Naval Academy
Abstract WebCT was used to enhance an electrical engineering survey course at the United States Naval Academy. WebCT is a suite of HTML based course tools which can be used to provide Web based content. It is a commercial product created at the University of British Colombia. The course authoring tools are free to download and use. A modest fee is paid to site license it for student use. The course in which it was used is the second in a two semester sequence taken by Juniors and Seniors in non-electrical engineering majors. The second course emphasizes applications, while the first course emphasizes basics such as DC and AC circuit theory. One objective of each course is for students to acquire the ability to answer conceptual and short answer questions. Short answer questions are a significant component of each hour exam. WebCT was used to help students learn short answer material through the use of on-line, multiple choice quizzes. Quizzes on computational material were used in a mastery learning mode. WebCT allows quizzes to be taken multiple times. Each time a quiz is taken, the component values can be varied. This allowed students to make mistakes, go back and ask questions or review the text and then retake the quiz for a better score. Student reaction to this use of WebCT was positive.
During the fall semester of 1999, Web Course Tools, which will be referred to as WebCT 1 in the text below, was used to supplement an electrical engineering survey course at the United States Naval Academy. Many schools are currently using WebCT including the University of Maryland2 where it was chosen after comparison3 with other web based course packages. This electrical engineering course is the second in a two semester sequence which provides both electrical engineering fundamentals and applications to non-electrical, engineering students. WebCT is a commercial product which provides HTML based course support and tools. Using WebCT, an instructor can post course notes and documents. Students can then access these materials using a browser such as Internet Explorer.
Quizzes can be written and delivered in a very flexible manner using WebCT. Some of the details of how WebCT was used to construct and administer quizzes are discussed below. The primary use of WebCT quizzes was to provide the student with another tool for learning. Students were allowed to take quizzes multiple times, making their use a form of mastery learning. Traditional in-class quizzes and hour exams remained the primary means of student evaluation.
Several features of WebCT quizzes are crucial for student self evaluation and feedback. The instructor can allow a quiz to be taken up to five times and the highest score reported. Also, the
Harding, D. (2000, June), Enhancement Of A Core Electrical Engineering Course Using Web Ct Paper presented at 2000 Annual Conference, St. Louis, Missouri. https://peer.asee.org/8355
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